The West Australian

Lisa Holland-McNair continues her series on the winners of the 2019 UDIA Awards for Excellence with an urban renewal project in the Kimberley.

Chinatown has again become the heart and soul of Broome with the community and government coming together to breathe life back into the popular tourist hotspot.

Shire of Broome president Harold Tracey said it was a great honour for the Chinatown Revitalisation Project to win the Urban Renewal category of the UDIA WA Awards for Excellence.

“Chinatown has been the cultural and commercial heart and soul of Broome since the earliest days of the pearling industry in the 1880s and today has developed into an iconic tourism destination,” Mr Tracey said.

“The project was born out of a desire to bring to life our community’s aspirations to preserve the town’s history, celebrate its culture and reinvigorate its economic development.”

The centrepiece of the revitalisation is a major upgrade of Carnarvon Street and Dampier Terrace.

Mr Tracey said the project created an environment that welcomed visitors with wider walkways and reduced roads, more shade and seating, public wi-fi, events infrastructure, enhanced
street lighting, vibrant and cooling landscaping, and a suite of public art and historical information to bring Chinatown’s colourful history to life.

The project also included feasibility studies of long-term projects, such as a Kimberley Centre for Culture, Art and Story, building a new attraction at the Roebuck Bay lookout, and funding
to encourage and stimulate private investment.

Mr Tracey said all of this would serve to attract more people to the town centre, make them want to stay longer and provide them with a much richer experience.

“We believe the benefits of this will then flow to our local retailers, restaurants, bars and cafes, and in turn the wider Broome economy,” he said.

“We’re already seeing trading hours extended, spaces being used and activated by tourists and the community, and renewed enthusiasm from traders, including the formation of a Town
Team that will spearhead activation going forward.”

UDIA award judges said the project paid respect to the area’s complex cultural history through extensive artworks, including many by local artists, integrated throughout the streets.